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Competition BBQ *On Topic Only* Discussion regarding all aspects of Competition BBQ. Experiences competing or visiting, questions, getting started, Equipment, announcements of events, Results, Reviews, Planning, etc. Questions here will be responded to with competition BBQ in mind.


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Unread 09-29-2009, 06:59 AM   #1
bbqdavarrow
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Default New Team Asked For Advice...

Last night talking to a new friend that will be competing for the first time he asked "Any Advice" So I came up with this list, any additions you can add?
ok, advice/things to think about...

CHICKEN - are you going to do thighs?, if so how many will you buy?, from where?
will you marinate them overnight? with what? how long?
Wood Chips, what do you plan on using? more than one kind?
Rub, are you buying or making your own? do you know how to clean up the thighs so they all will look uniform? what time do you plan on putting them on? what smoker will they go on? what shelf of the smoker will they go on? skin up or down? will you spray thighs with any kind of juice while on?
do you plan on using a baste on them? do you plan on trying to get the skin crispy? do you have a sauce picked out? will you add anything to the sauce if you are buying it? are you making your own sauce from scratch?
before you put your chicken in the box, taste it...does it need anything, salt, pepper sweet, heat etc...
what kind of garnish are you planning on using? who will do the boxes? what time will you start putting your chicken in the box?


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Unread 09-29-2009, 07:21 AM   #2
timzcardz
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IMHO, Too much detail.

My Advice:

1. Have fun; enjoy the experience and all of the people that will be there.
2. Turn in something, anything!
3. Start worryhing about the details next time out, or just go back to number 1.
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Unread 09-29-2009, 08:22 AM   #3
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My first comp is also this weekend. The real question I have come across for myself is:
Where has all my money gone?
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Unread 09-29-2009, 08:23 AM   #4
Lake Dogs
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He needs to have a few run-thoughs on the meat cooking, and possibly one or two
with the turn-in boxes if he can. That alone will answer many of the questions. Then,
grab one of the many task schedules posted here and elsewhere. Use those as a
starting point for your own. Work from turn-in time backwards. Schedule WHO is to
do the tasks. One guy is going to have a tough time slicing the ribs, then pulling the
pork, then cutting/slicing the brisket (IMHO) all within 30 minute windows. You'll
want to work out a tag-team type of thing. List it. Oh, in your dry run-throughs,
TIME yourself. See how long it takes you to separate the briskets from the points
and slice them to go into the box. How long does it take you to pull enough pork for
a nice turn-in? etc.

Then, make a packing list. First time, if you pack correctly, you'll actually bring too
much stuff. Better too much than too little.

HAVE FUN. It's all about enjoying time with friends.

In the mean time, look at pictures of turn-in boxes and decide what you like. We did
our first KCBS (been doing other comps that dont allow garnish) cookoff this past
weekend; we used finely chopped/sliced lettuce (green leaf lettuce) that gave us a
nice dark green background. Our presentation scores ranged from a few 9's to mostly
8's and a few 7's. Not terrible, IMHO, especially considering the brisket and ribs
were literally falling apart (a different story).

Be prepared to have to wing-it. Stuff happens. Prepare and plan, but be prepared to
have to adjust, quickly. Also, between say 10:30am and 1:30pm there's little room
for socializing. It'll be the rush to deliver this box, then immediately to the next box,
etc. We have 3 people on the team. 2 key people, and the 3rd is our "runner" who
also helps us grab something that's out of reach... Seems like with the best prep
there's always something "over there" that should be right here....

IMHO, if you dont have an idea (yet) of the rubs and marinades, you might not be
ready to compete... Get that down and get comfortable using them.
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Started competing in chili cookoffs back in the 1990's and have competed in more than I care to count. I became a CBJ in MiM in 2005, then MBN and in GBA in 2010. I've probably judged 130+- BBQ comps (sanctioned and unsanctioned) over this time. That said, I really enjoy competing more than I enjoy judging, and hope to get back to doing 4 or 5 a year in the near future.
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Unread 09-29-2009, 08:25 AM   #5
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LOL at Marc! Yes, money is like... Hmmmm... I dont know what it's like. Next time
I have some, I'll let 'ya know what it's like.
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Hance - Lake Dogs Cooking Team - MiM/MBN/GBA CBJ and comp cook
Lake Sinclair, GA (strategically about an hour from darn near anywhere)
Started competing in chili cookoffs back in the 1990's and have competed in more than I care to count. I became a CBJ in MiM in 2005, then MBN and in GBA in 2010. I've probably judged 130+- BBQ comps (sanctioned and unsanctioned) over this time. That said, I really enjoy competing more than I enjoy judging, and hope to get back to doing 4 or 5 a year in the near future.
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Unread 09-29-2009, 08:28 AM   #6
Lake Dogs
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Oh, BTW, IF you decide along the way to change/upgrade cookers, by all means do
more run-throughs; MANY more. I had ribs down PAT, and even at the same surface
temperature my new cooker managed to get those ribs done MUCH faster than the
old one. DIIK (darned if I know), but it did. Was 6 hour to 6 hour and 5 minutes for
me, now it's going to be WAY down, to probably 5 hours, perhaps even 4:45... Was
my fault really for not doing them. Did brisket, did pork. Skipped ribs, because...
Anyway, was my fault. Dont fall into this easy trap. Test yo stuff, many times!
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Hance - Lake Dogs Cooking Team - MiM/MBN/GBA CBJ and comp cook
Lake Sinclair, GA (strategically about an hour from darn near anywhere)
Started competing in chili cookoffs back in the 1990's and have competed in more than I care to count. I became a CBJ in MiM in 2005, then MBN and in GBA in 2010. I've probably judged 130+- BBQ comps (sanctioned and unsanctioned) over this time. That said, I really enjoy competing more than I enjoy judging, and hope to get back to doing 4 or 5 a year in the near future.
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Unread 09-29-2009, 09:04 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lake Dogs View Post
One guy is going to have a tough time slicing the ribs, then pulling the pork, then cutting/slicing the brisket (IMHO) all within 30 minute windows.
Well crap. We've been doing it wrong.
A small team definitely benefits from a designated runner, though.

I'd reiterate the advice above, that practice run-throughs under comp conditions will answer most questions. The one thing I would add is to configure your food-prep area (tables, whatever holds your small utensils, etc.) according the way you cook, and set it up that exact same way each time. We kept fighting our layout because we kept changing it, but once we arrived at the final configuration we got as comfortable in it as in our home kitchen. Either one of us knows exactly where everything is, there is absolutely no time wasted in looking for stuff.
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Unread 09-29-2009, 09:15 AM   #8
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  1. Make a list of what you think you'll need to take with you and stick to it. It won't take too many comps before you figure out what you do and don't need. (I still have propane lanterns on my list because I just know one day the power will go out or we will be without it somehow )
  2. Make a timeline of what goes on at what time. Very handy when you wake up from a power nap in the middle of the night and your brain is still a bit fuzzy.
  3. Make sure to take a large dial face clock with you and don't forget to synch it with the official one. About 11A on turn in day, you'll appreciate it.
  4. Do any trimming/cutting of the meat at the house....especially chicken and ribs. You have enough going on during your first time out, no sense in adding additional work. Make sure to keep original labels/receipts with you just in case you're questioned. We've never been questioned but you never know.
  5. Don't sweat the small stuff because chances are, there's nothing you can do about it anyways.
  6. Enjoy yourself and have fun!!
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Unread 09-29-2009, 09:21 AM   #9
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Just did our first comp a week or so ago.

my advice

1) have fun!
2) make sure you turn something in and on time
3) have fun

At least we figured that s long as we turned something in and on time in our first comp we had done all right. next time we will work more on details and focus on the cooking better but its good to just get your food turned in on time. IMHO
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Unread 09-29-2009, 10:11 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tweedle View Post
Just did our first comp a week or so ago.

my advice

1) have fun!
2) make sure you turn something in and on time
3) have fun

At least we figured that s long as we turned something in and on time in our first comp we had done all right. next time we will work more on details and focus on the cooking better but its good to just get your food turned in on time. IMHO
I'm so glad you had fun..
Toby loves BAAAHHHBEQUE !!!BAAAHHHBEQUE !!!BAAAHHHBEQUE !!!
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Unread 09-29-2009, 10:54 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nitrofly View Post
I'm so glad you had fun..
Toby loves BAAAHHHBEQUE !!!BAAAHHHBEQUE !!!BAAAHHHBEQUE !!!

I tried to get that recorded on my phone for a ring tone..... do you know how i might be able to get that little sound bite lol.


I don't know how you could not have fun what a great buch of people. It was like Mardi Gras till sunday morning.
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Unread 09-29-2009, 10:58 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timzcardz View Post
IMHO, Too much detail.

My Advice:

1. Have fun; enjoy the experience and all of the people that will be there.
2. Turn in something, anything!
3. Start worryhing about the details next time out, or just go back to number 1.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tweedle View Post
Just did our first comp a week or so ago.

my advice

1) have fun!
2) make sure you turn something in and on time
3) have fun

At least we figured that s long as we turned something in and on time in our first comp we had done all right. next time we will work more on details and focus on the cooking better but its good to just get your food turned in on time. IMHO

Darn copycats!

Glad to hear that you had fun. For my brother and I, and our sons, that is what it is all about.
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Unread 09-29-2009, 11:49 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lake Dogs View Post
One guy is going to have a tough time slicing the ribs, then pulling the pork, then cutting/slicing the brisket (IMHO) all within 30 minute windows.
I also have to take issue with this comment. I've always cooked solo and have never used a runner. It can be, and is, done all the time.

As for generic competition how-to advice, here are my recommendations.

John
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Unread 09-29-2009, 04:28 PM   #14
Lake Dogs
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Which part do you "take issue with", the "going to have a tough time" (ala. it's tough,
but not impossible) or the "One guy"? I've done 1 hr turn-ins all by myself every time,
but for me, I personally have a tough time being anal retentive separating the flat from
2 or 3 brisket points, getting all fat off, then slicing them to determine which is best, then taking the best and
arranging them so as to get 8's and 9's on presentation, all within 25 minutes. Guess
that's just me. Takes me about 35 to 40 minutes, but then I'm very delicate with
those knives... It's not impossible, just I dont do it.

Or, do you have issue with my recommendation to TIME IT himself, to see what works
best for him?
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Lake Sinclair, GA (strategically about an hour from darn near anywhere)
Started competing in chili cookoffs back in the 1990's and have competed in more than I care to count. I became a CBJ in MiM in 2005, then MBN and in GBA in 2010. I've probably judged 130+- BBQ comps (sanctioned and unsanctioned) over this time. That said, I really enjoy competing more than I enjoy judging, and hope to get back to doing 4 or 5 a year in the near future.
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Unread 09-29-2009, 04:58 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lake Dogs View Post
Which part do you "take issue with", the "going to have a tough time" (ala. it's tough, but not impossible) or the "One guy"?
Just the part I quoted. It's not all that hard, but each person is different. Of course, it gets easier over time.

John
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